VP’s Remarks At The 3rd Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council Awards
NIGERIA IS THE LOGICAL DESTINATION FOR BUSINESS IN AFRICA – OSINBAJO
“We must keep our business environment in Nigeria competitive and friendly for business.”
“Our business environment must make the case to investors as to why they should come here and not elsewhere.”
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE 3RD PEBEC AWARDS AT THE STATE HOUSE, BANQUET HALL ON THE 11TH OF MARCH, 2020.
I am delighted to be here for the 3rd edition of the annual PEBEC Awards as we gather to appreciate the efforts of the Ministries, Departments, Agencies, private sector, and the public sector whose immense contributions have improved our business climate over the past 18months. It is important that we applaud all these efforts and show that indeed, there is gold in our green.
The mandate of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council is to lead the effort to remove the bottlenecks and constraints in our business environment and especially those obstacles that prevent Small and Medium Enterprises from unlocking their full potential.
These small businesses are a critical part of the economy as they contribute about 48% of our GDP and contribute about 80% of jobs in the country. PEBEC’s efforts in the last reform cycle have yielded commendable fruits. Nigeria, as you have heard so many times rose 15 places on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Rankings in 2019 and altogether 39 places since 2016. We have also heard that we are considered one of the top 10 best reforming economies in the world.
In specific terms, Nigeria made starting a business easier by operationalizing a new electronic platform that integrates the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) platforms. Also, registering property in Lagos is now more transparent with the digitization of cadastral plans in a geographical information system with digital copies now available. As regards enforcing contracts, the Chief Judges in Lagos and Kano States have introduced pre-trial conferences and a strict limit adjournment in their practice directions for small claims courts. These steps created a more inclusive and enabling environment for small businesses.
We must all appreciate the efforts of our tireless civil and public servants, especially the award winners today; the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the National Agency for Food & Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS). The awards they have received are a tribute to what we can achieve if we work purposefully and diligently and we have seen what they can achieve especially in the past 18months.
The private sector also deserves our heartfelt gratitude and commendation for its commitment and collaboration, especially their contributions in technical support and capacity building. We must in particular thank the law firms of Banwo & Ighodalo, Oyewole & Adesina, Crowncourt Attorneys, and also KPMG Nigeria, Procter & Gamble and Deloitte Nigeria.
And of course, we must appreciate the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES), led by the tireless Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, and as we all know, the Secretariat is the heart of implementing the mandate of PEBEC. They have done an excellent job once again and we are looking forward to the great things they will do in the future.
What is more important than moving the rankings up is the need to ensure that all our efforts translate into long-term sustainable growth for the economy.
We must keep our business environment in Nigeria competitive and friendly for business. We are the logical destination for business in Africa, but that does not in itself, attract investments. Our business environment must make the case to investors as to why they should come here and not elsewhere.
We are currently midway through the National Action Plan 5.0 (the fifth iteration of the National Action Plan). We should be putting our best foot forward and working harder than ever to realize the lofty goals that Mr. President has set for us this year.
Finally, let me on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, and the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria again, congratulate all the award winners for their well-deserved recognition. Well done!
Thank you and enjoy the rest of the evening.